Having hired numerous marketing support agencies and people in my time (including PR people, FB ad campaign managers, social media assistants, web designers, videographers, photographers, graphic designers, SEO specialists and more) I am often asked how to choose a digital marketing agency (or other support) to help grow your business.
I was reminded of this fact by fellow Kent-based digital marketer Daniel Knowlton of KPS Digital Marketing this week when he posed this question on his brilliant Facebook page (check it out for lots of really useful practical digital marketing tips).
As you’ll see from the conversation thread, I shared my top tips and wanted to share them here via my blog too to reach those who missed the original discussion.
1. Don’t hire someone just because they are the cheapest. Yes you will have budgetary concerns but QUALITY OF SERVICE AND OUTPUT are surely as (or more) important than PRICE.
2. Don’t hire someone because they are a friend/family member/member of your networking group. Yes PERSONAL RECOMMENDATIONS are worth something in helping you decide whether you can expect a GOOD WORKING RELATIONSHIP based on TRUST but are they the best match for the job? Think about it as though you were hiring for an internal role. You would want to have some kind of impartial recruitment process in place, right?
3. You need SUPER CLEAR OBJECTIVES, and an OVERARCHING BUSINESS GROWTH PLAN before entering into a RECRUITMENT PROCESS. Ideally draft a WRITTEN BRIEF or some kind of document to steer initial conversations. Ideally you would have an overarching marketing strategy before jumping into the execution of any specific tactical activity (digital or otherwise)- if you haven’t got one- we need to talk!! Of course you need to be open to suggestions from the agencies you speak to but you need to have some idea of what you want to achieve (what does a good outcome look like) to stop yourself being distracted and led astray by all the new shiny things that agencies MAY try to push at you!
4. Educate yourself as much as possible so you will be genuinely DELEGATING this aspect of your business to a specialist rather than ABDICATING the responsibility (this is a distinction drawn by Gerber in his classic business book The E-Myth).
5. The ideal situation is to enter into a true working PARTNERSHIP with an agency, not a buyer-supplier model. You need to be able to have open, honest conversations and two-way dialogue as much as possible. To develop a relationship founded on mutual respect between peers. Therefore PERSONALITY plays as big part in my mind as technical ability, experience, capacity, reputation and other aspects.